From Collaboration to Confidence: Building Leadership Buy-in For WFM Strategies

Posted by Laura Horton on July 12, 2023

In the quest for operational efficiency, back offices can harness the power of WFM through forecasting accuracy. Forecasting accuracy is one key factor that contributes to leadership buy-in. 

Gaining the Back Office management buy-in is crucial for the success of the WFM strategy. As WFM experts, our goal is to engage with and provide insights/guidance to our business leaders and all influencing departments, including HR. 

All team managers have a requirement to understand workload demand, impacts, drivers, and the resources required to service the work. They are challenged with understanding and justifying their staff requirements to ensure they can meet their objectives and service the demand. In my many years of working with leaders, there is a common theme. Managers know their business; they know their staff and they’ve acquired that knowledge without the use of WFM tools, but by working it out the hard way! Understandably, this can create a sense of protection over their information and their staff. 

So, the challenge is how do you get them to share that knowledge?  It’s important to set expectations as to our intentions, responsibility, objective, and purpose. We intend to work collaboratively, to complement and support them, to achieve common goals. For them, our supporting will free up some of their time to allow focus on other activities such as coaching, developing and support their staff, working on process improvements, completing administration tasks, and so on…

A robust workforce management plan is an art and a science. While we excel in the scientific aspects and have strong knowledge of the practicalities of forecasting – the artistic side lies in acquiring insights through collaboration with leaders, accumulating collective knowledge on the driving influencers of demand over time, and applying this knowledge and lessons learned to the forecast. 

By leveraging our Back Office leaders’ knowledge and supporting open and consistent communication, we can build leadership confidence and trust in the WFM process. Two of the best ways to build that confidence are being able to clearly articulate the benefits of forecasting to leadership and establishing an effective operating rhythm. Here are some ways to do just that!

Benefits of Forecasting Accuracy:

  1. Business Performance Evaluation: Accurate forecasting allows businesses to evaluate their performance by comparing results with forecast predictions. This evaluation helps identify areas for improvement and assess the customer impact. 
  2. Decision-Making with Confidence: Reliable forecasts provide leaders with the necessary information to make informed decisions across various business functions. Having confidence in the accuracy of forecasts helps drive strategic decisions, resource allocation, and operational planning.
  3. Resource Optimization: Accurate forecasts enable organizations to allocate resources effectively. Right people, right skill, right place, right time. Optimization of resources improves operational efficiency and productivity.
  4. Risk Mitigation: With reliable forecasts, businesses can proactively identify risks and develop contingency plans to mitigate them effectively. This proactive approach minimizes the impact of unforeseen events and changes in demand.
  5. Stakeholder Confidence: By providing reliable forecasts, leaders can demonstrate their competency and transparency, strengthening their relationship with their stakeholders and staff.
  6. Continuous Improvement: By analyzing forecast deviations and identifying problem areas, organizations can refine their forecasting models, data sources, and methodologies. This iterative process leads to better employee engagement, enhanced customer experience, and operational efficiency.
  7. Performance Benchmarks: Forecast accuracy allows businesses to benchmark their performance against industry standards and internal targets. It provides insights into areas of improvement, drives innovation, and encourages the adoption of internal best practices across the organization. 

A well-designed operating rhythm sets the stage for decision-making, collaboration, and accountability.  

Effective Operating Rhythm:

  1. Clear Communication: Encourage alignment and effective collaboration by establishing clear communication channels. This includes regular meetings, status updates, and feedback sessions. Being a trusted advisor means providing accurate and timely information, addressing concerns, and facilitating resolution of issues. Building strong communication channels fosters transparency and trust.   
  2. Structured Workflow: Define roles, responsibilities, and accountability. Clearly outlining each role’s responsibilities helps avoid confusion, duplication of effort, and gaps. Collaboration is the key to ensuring a smooth transition of handoffs and seamless coordination. 
  3. Prioritization and Time Management: Optimize results by prioritizing and managing time effectively. Prioritize the jobs to be done and ensure the timely delivery of useful information. Keep a record of any deviations and document the outcomes and lessons learned. You will be held somewhat accountable for the outcomes, so collaborate with your leaders to define priority tasks and manage your time effectively.
  4. Continuous Improvement: Foster a culture of improvement through evaluation and feedback. Regularly assess processes and identify areas requiring improvement and potential opportunities for innovation. 
  5. Training and Skill Development: Investing in employee development and leadership training is crucial for building a capable and high-performing workforce. Providing training to the leadership team and staff, on the principles of workforce management, can equip them with the necessary knowledge and tools to excel in their role. 
  6. Performance Monitoring and Metrics: Document the established KPIs between Leadership and WFM. Regularly monitor and measure progress against these metrics to gauge performance and identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. 

As WFM experts, our primary objective is to provide valuable insights and business guidance. We recognize that the transition can be challenging to overcome. By fostering a collaborative environment and valuing the leaders’ experience, we can bridge the gap between science and knowledge, enhancing the effectiveness of the WFM strategy. 

This partnership approach not only facilitates the successful implementation of WFM initiatives but also fosters confidence and trust between WFM experts and business leaders. At Call Design, we are committed to enabling our clients to overcome challenges that drive positive change within their organizations.  Contact us today to learn how we can partner with you in achieving your business outcomes and empowering your back office workforce. Together, let’s unlock the full potential of your operations and create a happy, engaged, fulfilled, and aligned work environment.